The very last leg….

17th September 2017

We all felt a bit flat as we left Dyvig that morning. This was going to be last time we would sail Gracie for 7 months, so we were determined to make the most of our last leg to Augustenborg. It will be next May before the weather will be good enough for us to continue our cruise on to Sweden, Finland, Russia, the Baltic States, Poland and Eastern German.

Preparing to leave Dyvig in very light airs 

The wind was really very light, Force 1 to 2 as we sailed through the narrow buoyed channel from Dyvig back into the Stegvig. We were followed by a couple yachts as we headed towards the Als Fjord. I think because of our very shipshape departure out of the berth they thought we knew what we were doing ……a very risky assumption to make! We wanted to sail every moment possible. So we used every trick we had learnt over the past few months to make Grace go and it was very satisfying and enjoyable…..although it took us 8 hours to sail just 15 nm!

How unwise! Following our lead through the Dyvig Channel!

Safely through!

Dodging the ferry in the Als Fjord for the last time 
On reaching Augustenborg, all that was left was to complete the final totals in Grace’s log for our 2017 journey from Chichester:

977 nautical miles.

12.5 degrees East of Longitude travelled.

47 ports of call.

2.7 knots average speed.

364 hours sailing.

187 hours run on the engine.

248 litres of diesel burnt.
Reluctantly I put her log book away in the chart table for this year.

Final logbook totals 

We now had two busy days to prepare Grace ready for handing over to Anders for safe keeping over winter. We commandeered the marina’s washing machine room door key and washed everything including spray dodgers and steering wheel cover! We then threw out every thing we did not wear over the last 3 months and vacuum bagged the rest! This also meant eating everything that would go off or not survive freezing, so we had some slightly unusual food combos! We also decided that wine would not keep so reluctantly that needed to be drunk, which improved things dramatically!

Wine helps!

Anders who runs the boatyard was brilliant, he knew we were winter storage virgins and that I was hugely anxious about having the mast taken down, then having Grace dangled out of the water on a couple straps from his crane and then parked in one of his sheds for 7 months! He was at his most enthusiastic self to reassure me that all would be well. Although my anxiety levels were raised a bit when he decided to show me where the transducer for the speed and echo sounder was, and that he would also demonstrate how to take it out to clean it. Apparently Grace has a particularly good one! This left a hole straight through the hull and in 3 m of water the end result was not to be unexpected…..a plume of sea water 2 ft high in the forward cabin! We both struggled to put the transducer back, it did feel a bit like the little Dutch boy putting his finger in the dyke to save the village and I started wonder how long it takes to sink a yacht with a 3 inch hole in it. With the speed the water was coming in, I guessed it was not going to be very long if we did not get the transducer locked back in to place!

Getting Grace ready for winter meant an engine service and new pre and fine fuel filters. Fortunately there was no evidence of the diesel bug that we had in Chichester, it must have been all the chemical preventer I kept adding to the fuel! Drain and fill with antifreeze the sea water heat exchanger and the toilet. Drain the water system completely, leaving taps and sea cocks open and then draining the water heater – apparently often forgotten and no wonder as it is another perfect opportunity to flood the engine bilge with 30 litres of water! Last but not least, lubricate the auto prop. 

Our auto prop

Although this bit of kit has caused me angst throughout the trip, I decided to keep it when I realised it was a proper Brintons Autoprop and that explained why our fuel consumption was so low, why we can trundle along at 4.5 knots at just 1000 revs in virtually any conditions and why Grace will go so well astern…..with virtually no prop walk, which at times would be of help to spin her round in a tight corner!

Grace waiting at the mast crane 

Grace’s winter home 

Getting her storage cradle ready 

In the boat lift

In her cradle 

Safe in her new home!

We also agreed on rather a long list of things to do before she goes back in the water next spring……Oh well, I have 6 months to earn some cash to keep Grace in the luxury to which she has become accustomed! So we can:

⁃ Replace the sail halyards.

⁃ Fit a whisker pole system to goosewing the genoa down wind (Grace’s Christmas present!……Just what she always wanted!)

⁃ Repair the damage to the bows after our unfortunate incident with a Dutch lock.

⁃ Service the steering gear.

⁃ Polish the scapes out of the hull acquired from visiting 47 different and completely ‘new to us’ moorings!

⁃ Replace the anodes. Different ones are needed in the Baltic to UK waters.

⁃ Antifoul the hull and saildrive. Soft for the hull and a copper free hard on for the saildrive

⁃ Fix the cabin lighting………Not too bad a list I think after a busy season sailing.

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